Infiniti delays new EV to integrate new battery technology

Article by Christian A., on July 8, 2013

The delay in the launch of Infiniti's new electric car is due to the premium carmaker’s desire to integrate more advanced charging and battery technology into the vehicle, Andy Palmer, head of Nissan global planning, told Automotive News Europe in an interview. Palmer denied rumors that the delay was due to the alliance partners’ losing interest in electric cars.

He remarked that their “heart is still in zero emissions." Infiniti provided a glimpse of its future EV by unveiling the LE Concept sedan at the 2012 New York auto show. The car set had been set for launch in 2015, but was moved to a further date. Palmer, however, noted to Automotive News Europe that the electric sedan’s launch was "not significantly" delayed, adding that it is still within their mid-term plan.

He noted that there are “some interesting advances” in electric technology they hadn't anticipated when they unveiled the LE concept sedan. He said that by delaying its public launch “a bit,” they could incorporate those advances into the car. According to Palmer, the rollout of wireless induction for charging the Infiniti EV is being impeded by the fact that a dominant system failed to surface from rival technologies and from a lack of regulatory compliance.

He said the premium carmaker intends to integrate new lithium ion battery technology, which according to Palmer, is so good that it alone justified the car's delay. He noted that better batteries would allow for longer range at a lower price.

Infiniti's parent, Nissan, has been trying to persuade consumers to shift to battery-powered cars without receiving subsidies or incentives from the governments. Renault-Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn remarked in May that the alliance would struggle to meet a target to sell 1.5 million EVs by the end of fiscal year 2016.

The Infiniti LE Concept was designed as a pure Infiniti and not as an electric vehicle sporting luxury appointments. It is substantial in form, with the same length as Infiniti’s G Sedan, supporting the brand’s belief that when a vehicle claims zero emission it does not just mean a little emission. What’s more, the Infiniti LE Concept is not willing to sacrifice roominess and comfort, thus it has advanced luxury-style sedan body.

According to Ben Poore, Infiniti Americas President, the LE Concept has a bold exterior that is defined by underlying high performance. He emphasized that the LE Concept is, first and foremost, born of Infiniti’s philosophy of Inspired Performance, and that instead of taking an electric vehicle then adding an Infiniti badge, they are taking an Infiniti vehicle then removing the tailpipe. Infiniti, he explains, is all about challenging the convention and proving that higher-level luxury can both be zero emission and gorgeous.

Moreover, the concept's dramatic exterior combines distinctive Infiniti design cues, like crescent-cut rear-pillar and double-arch grille, with EV aerodynamic efficiency in order to create an emotional yet sleek silhouette. Additionally, the car’s strong shoulder line expresses an elegant, dynamic, and flowing movement. Meanwhile, its beautifully balanced proportions, which result to an efficient dynamic form, convey a new definition of luxury.

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